The production of many consumer products based on manufactured NanoParticles (NPs) has led to a growing public and regulatory concern about the safety of nanomaterials. Since experimental toxicological testing of NPs, especially in vivo animal studies is costly and time-consuming, it is necessary to develop a novel research field and associated methods and tools to reach the goal of predictive nanotoxicology. The PreNanoTox consortium addresses three currently missing critical elements needed to develop a platform for predictive nanotoxicology and our suggested approach of providing them: (1) There is a current lack of unified large database – We suggest to form this database by applying cutting edge information extraction tools on large repository of scientific articles; (2) There is a need for better understanding the underlying mechanisms of the primary interaction of NP with the cell membrane – We suggest to apply appropriate theory and simulation assuming that the surface chemistry of a NP (affecting NP’s surface reactivity, hydrophobicity, or surface electrostatics) as well as its other physical properties (e.g. size and shape) determine the strength of the non-specific adsorption of NPs to a cell surface, leading beyond a certain adhesion-strength threshold, to efficient uptake of the NPs; (3) There is a need to extend the traditional QSAR paradigm to the field of nanotoxicology – This will be carried out by linking appropriate NP descriptors, with emphasis on those which determine the strength of adsorption of NPs to cells, with biological responses. The PreNanoTox consortium is made up of four research groups (from three scientific organizations), which lead in information technology, soft matter modeling, computational chemistry and in-vitro toxicology, yielding a synergetic output. This project will assist in safe designing of new engineered NPs as well as reducing tha extent needed for empirical testing of toxicity.
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